Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday, September 11th: Ezekiel 33:21-36:38 ~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: Ezekiel 33:21-36:38

Today's passages contain a series of prophesies from Ezekiel to the Israelites.  Even though the message was directed towards the Israelites, there are many truths that apply to us today.

1) Sunday Christians- Ezekiel 33:31-32   31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. The warning here is that it is easy for us to attend church, listen to some nice solos, be attentive to the sermon...yet walk away and have no change of heart or conviction that draws us to make changes in how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis.  Today being Sunday...the challenge for me today is to go beyond the  "entertainment mindset" and open myself up to be challenged by God's word and implement the changes God places on my heart.

2)   Leaders / Parents Need to Act Like Good Shepherds – Ezekiel 34:2b-4;8-10  Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally……As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. We can default and say that this passage applies to spiritual leaders, but essentially we are all called to be spiritual leaders in some fashion.  Be it to our children, or within our peer group, God expects us to have a servant attitude and lead by selfless example. A true leader puts the needs of others ahead of their own.  To me, this hit home as I constantly need to be less self focused and keep my eyes open and heart attentive to the needs of those around me.

3) Goats vs Sheep – Ezekiel 17-19: 17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? This clear distinction made in the passage that God would judge between the sheep and the goats peaked my interest, so I researched a little on the differences. Both sheep and goats come from the same family of animals but are vastly different in their characteristics and behavior.  Goats are described as inquisitive and notorious for escaping any enclosure they are placed in. Once a goat has discovered a weakness in a fence they will exploit it repeatedly. Sheep on the other hand will stay close and compliant typically to the shepherd, with whom they develop a perceived rapport. Goats are more independent than sheep when grazing and will spread out rather than staying in tight groups like the sheep. Goats will leave their young and go graze while the sheep keep the young together and protect them.  All this being said…this is likely more than you wanted to know about sheep and goats, but it does paint a picture of God’s expectations for us. We are to look out for our fellow sheep and be supportive.  Most importantly when given direction, we need to follow His leadership and direction, knowing that the Shepherd has our best interests at heart. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:

1 comment:

Tammy Reimer said...

Good reminders Jay.

What also struck me about the sheep and goat verses was that we need to be others focused instead of just focused on ourselves. We can't only be concerned about getting all the clear water and the good pasture to ourselves, but rather sharing with those around us. Do we look to the needs of others, or make sure we take care of #1 first?

So thankful for our perfect Shepherd! May we remember to be like sheep and be loyal to Him and listen for His voice.

36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
36:32 But remember, say the Sovereign Lord, I am not doing this because you deserve it.

God's power to change us is incredible. But His mercy and grace is not because we have deserved it - it is to show how holy His name is. It is to glorify His name - a topic we're going to be studying in church over the next few Sundays.